Nets 102 - 104 Bucks
  for this game

Ridnour hits before buzzer as Bucks top Nets

Jan 10, 2009 - 5:23 AM By Nick Berenz PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- In a game that featured players facing off with their former teams for the first time, it was a player that came to the Milwaukee Bucks in a different trade that made the biggest difference Friday.

Luke Ridnour hit a running floater with five-tenths of a second remaining to lift the Bucks to a 104-102 victory over the New Jersey Nets at the Bradley Center on Friday night.

Michael Redd led the Bucks with 24 points and Charlie Villanueva continued his strong play off the bench with 23.

With all the talk surrounding the trade that brought Richard Jefferson to the Bucks from New Jersey, it was the acquisition of Ridnour from the franchise formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics that paid dividends Friday.

The Nets had their first chance to tie the game with just over 40 seconds remaining, when they were down by three points.

"We just kept plugging away trying to give ourselves a chance to win," Nets head coach Lawrence Frank said. "We showed great poise, it's a shame we couldn't get the stop and pull it off."

But Keyon Dooling was stripped of the ball by Ridnour. Following a Nets defensive stop, Vince Carter drove the lane and drew a double-team that left former Buck Bobby Simmons open for the game-tying three with nine seconds remaining.

"I had to come in and apologize to my teammates and coaching staff for leaving my guy open for that three," Jefferson said. "He (Ridnour) really saved my butt."

The subsequent inbounds pass went to Ridnour, who broke down the defense and got the floater to fall just before the buzzer to seal the win.

"I was lucky to get by him and get a pretty good look at it," Ridnour said. "I got a good roll on the rim that took some extra time."

Vince Carter led the Nets and missed a triple-double by one rebound finishing with 23 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Redd got off to a quick start, scoring 15 of the Bucks' first 20 points in the opening quarter. His hot shooting was contagious in the first as both teams got off to quick starts and were tied 28-28 at the end of the period.

"We had a lot of good moments tonight," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "We also had moments of good energy and ball movement. I thought (Redd) was outstanding."

The Bucks' hot shooting continued in the second quarter, when they were able to extend to a 12-point lead at halftime, 61-49. The Bucks' bench continued its strong play - led by Villanueva, who scored 11 points in the first half.

Villanueva may have benefited most from the trade that brought Jefferson to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian and Simmons. Villanueva and Yi were very similar players with the Bucks and would've competed for playing time this season.

"It was nothing personal with me and Yi, it was what it was last year," Villanueva said. "Whenever you play against your former team, you want to show something. It was the same when I got traded from Toronto to here, guys want to prove themselves."

Since December, Villanueva has averaged nearly 18.0 points off the bench, helping the team to an 8-2 home record over that span.

Dooling was starting for the injured Devin Harris, who missed his third game in the last four with a sore right hamstring. Harris is averaging a career-high 23.1 points this season.

Jefferson is the second-leading scorer in the Nets' history with 8,507 points. He helped lead his former team to back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003.

"I have no animosity toward any of those guys, this means more to me because of where they are in the playoffs race," Jefferson said.

Milwaukee was without one of its own stars as Andrew Bogut missed his fourth consecutive game with back spasms. The Bucks were just 1-5 entering Friday's contest without Bogut in the lineup.

It was also the first time Yi and Simmons faced the Bucks since the summer trade. Yi - who heard a chorus of boos throughout the game - finished with 16 before leaving in the third with a hand injury, and Simmons scored 19.

According to Yi, the injury is going to keep him out for an extended period.

"I'll be out like three or four weeks," Yi said. "It happened, I'll just give it time and come back."

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